Random Encounters08/05/2002

"Shopping, darling ..." - Tower Tower, Burning Bright

Buying magic items in a large city is something every player character wants to do at one point or another. It's exciting when, after the party's first big take, the PCs can walk tall into town and demand the most expensive and exotic items.

Not all campaign settings have stores with magic items for sale, but if yours does, then these random encounters might add a little spice to an otherwise mundane experience.

Tower, Tower, Burning Bright

A rakshasa has been masquerading as a gorgeous female bard outside the mage's guild for the past few days. Using his alternate form ability, the rakshasa has gained the confidence of the mage's guild members as they walk to and from their buildings. From this position, the rakshasa has scrutinized all who enter and leave the guild.

The rakshasa has been in the area looking for someone that has information important to his plans. He feels comfortable hanging about the mages' tower as its immunity to all but the most powerful spells means that if things turned sour, he could easily escape. Also, once he finds his target, he can subdue it easily using his own spells.

One of the PCs that can cast arcane spells just happens to be wearing an article of clothing that the rakshasa is looking for. That article of clothing is the clue the rakshasa has been looking for. When the rakshasa sees the PC, he'll follow the PC inside the guild, then attempt to kidnap the PC and question him or her later.

Male Rakshasa: CR 9; Medium-size outsider (evil, lawful); HD 7d8+21; hp 52; Init +2; Spd 40 ft.; AC 21, touch 12, flat-footed 19; Atk +9 melee (1d4+2, 2 claws) and +4 melee (1d6+1, bite); SA detect thoughts, spells; SQ alternate form, outsider traits, spell immunity, vulnerable to blessed crossbow bolts; AL LE; SV Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +7; Str 14, Dex 14, Con 16, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 17.

Skills and Feats: Bluff +16 (+20 if reading an opponent's mind), Diplomacy +7, Disguise +17 (+21 if reading an opponent's mind, +27 if using alternate form, or +31 if doing both), Intimidate +5, Listen +12, Move Silently +11, Perform (ballad, chant, comedy, dance, drama, epic, juggling, melody, storytelling) +12, Sense Motive +11, Spot +13; Alertness, Dodge.

Detect Thoughts (Su): The rakshasa can continuously detect thoughts as the spell (caster level 18th; save DC 15). He can suppress or resume this ability as a free action.

Alternate Form (Su): The rakshasa can assume any humanoid form, or revert to his own form, as a standard action. This ability is similar to the alter self spell (caster level 18th), but the rakshasa can remain in the new form indefinitely.

Outsider Traits: The rakshasa has darkvision 60 ft. He cannot be raised or resurrected (though a wish or miracle spell can restore life).

Spell Immunity (Su): The rakshasa ignores the effects of spells and spell-like abilities of 8th-level or less, just as if the spellcaster had failed to overcome spell resistance.

Vulnerable to Blessed Crossbow Bolts (Ex): Any hit scored with a blessed crossbow bolt instantly slays the rakshasa.

Sorcerer Spells Known (6/7/7/5; save DC = 13 + spell level): 0 -- arcane mark, daze, detect magic, mage hand, ray of frost, read magic, resistance; 1st -- charm person, grease, hold portal, protection from good, spider climb; 2nd -- knock, Melf's acid arrow, Tasha's hideous laughter; 3rd -- haste, hold person.

Bringing the Parts Together

Cliodhna is the rakshasa. He has been trying to flush out the PCs by seeing who would visit each of the stores that he set traps in. Since the PCs are the ones who have visited each of the locations in the city, the PCs must be the ones he's looking for (or so Cliodhna thinks). What Cliodhna is seeking is the location of an ancient tome of knowledge. What the PCs know about it can be determined by the DM. The DM can choose to create further adventures using this random encounter as a basis, or perhaps this matter is simply a terrible case of mistaken identity, in which case the incident with the rakshasa truly has been a random encounter.

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About the Author

Eric Haddock is a technical writer living in Renton, Washington, with his wife, Julia Martin, and Oracle and Ororo, their two cats. Eric runs Abashima Press, which is an imprint for himself and fellow authors in the Seattle gaming community. Eric is a former assistant editor of DragonMagazine and a game content writer for Xbox and PC games for Microsoft. In his spare time, he wallows in his addiction to Civilization III and takes care to shop online and avoid any unnecessary incidents at the store. . . .

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